WhatsApp is now introducing voice and video calling for desktop users, the company announced today. The messaging service, used by over a billion people worldwide, enhances the functionality of its desktop apps to match both its Facebook Messenger counterpart and its competitors, Apple FaceTime and Microsoft Skype.
WhatsApp says it is making this change due to an increase in voice and video calls over the past year. Due to the ongoing pandemic, a mix of social isolation and bans, more and more people have used the app to stay in touch instead of face-to-face communication. According to WhatsApp, this has resulted in “significant” growth. On New Year’s Eve alone, 1.4 billion voice and video calls were made.
You must have the WhatsApp desktop app installed on a PC or Mac running either Windows 10 64-bit version 1903 and later or macOS 10.13 and later. You will also need both your phone and computer to enable Internet access. WhatsApp notes that while your phone is not being used to make the call, it must be online to make the initial connection. Obviously there must be a microphone and a camera for voice and video, respectively.
The new desktop video calling feature is optimized for both portrait and landscape modes. It uses picture-in-picture so users can keep track of their calls with a small floating window while still using their computers normally. The company also touts the benefits of using larger screens as the bigger screen to see your friends and loved ones while keeping your hands free.
Voice and video calling will be available in one-on-one calls first, but the company plans to expand to group calling in the future. The service should now be available.